How To Properly Clean A Furnace

Now that the hot summer months are finally giving way to fall, it's time to start thinking less about staying cool and more about how you'll be keeping warm in these colder temperatures. Making sure you have some staple pieces for your fall wardrobe is a must for staying warm, but have you thought about what it takes to ready your home for the incoming cold weather?

Your furnace should be top priority as these cooler months roll in, says heating and air-conditioning company Service Champions. No one wants to run into furnace problems when it's already chilly outside. Understanding how your furnace works and making sure it's running efficiently long before the colder months get here can save you a ton of trouble later down the road.

One way to make sure your furnace is up and ready for cold weather is by maintaining its cleanliness. According to Carrier, the fall months (right before heating season) are the perfect time to clean your heating system. Let's take a look at how you should properly clean your furnace so your home stays toasty this winter.

Vacuum the blower and clean the filter

To make sure your furnace works properly, you really need to focus on cleaning these two main components: the fan and filter. But before you focus on either of them, longtime electrical, plumbing, and HVAC company Ongaro & Sons advises you to ensure no electricity or fuel is running into your furnace. You can do this by safely disconnecting your furnace from its power source. Check your furnace's manual for the location of its power switch and make sure the switch is in the "off" position" before you go any further.

Once that's taken care of, you can move on to cleaning the blower compartment. This is where the fan is located. Use a screwdriver to access the compartment and a vacuum cleaner to suction up all the dust and dirt that you find (via PlumbersStock).

The final step in cleaning your furnace is washing or replacing its filter. Just like cleaning under your furniture, cleaning your furnace's filter is something to stay on top of. After removing the filter from the service panel, check its dust level. If you can't see through your filter due to how much dust it's collected, HomeAdvisor suggests you swap it for a new filter or, if it's reusable, simply rinse it off and reinsert it into your furnace. 

You can hire a professional to clean your furnace but it could get expensive

Cleaning your furnace may seem like a daunting task if you're not used to working with heavy machinery. If that's the case, there's nothing wrong with calling in the professionals to clean your furnace for you. Unfortunately, doing so might cost you a hefty sum of money. The average cost of hiring a HVAC technician to clean your furnace is around $50 to $100, says HomeGuide. Deep cleaning services could hike that number all the way to $300.

While calling in the professionals might sound like the easier option, this is a task that you can easily do yourself. Per True Value, the only tools you'll need to get the job done are a screwdriver, a cloth, protective goggles, a scrubbing brush, and a mask to catch any flyaway dust particles. You likely have most, if not all, of these supplies around the house somewhere. With that in mind, cleaning the furnace yourself just might be less costly than hiring someone else to do the job for you.